Corsair 800D, Air Cooling, and Fan Configuration Explored with Results

Discussion in 'Cases & Case Modding' started by RushiMP, Mar 21, 2011.

  1. RushiMP

    RushiMP Limp Gawd

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    The Obsidian 800D is a full-featured full-tower PC case that is very popular amongst us. The case has many advanced features, but one of the most advertised (by Corsair) is the three isolated cooling zones :rolleyes:. The aim of this post is to share with you some theory and my results with the 800D as it relates to air cooling and positive/negative pressure configurations.

    Every time I walk into MicroCenter I seem to buy something my wife thinks I do not need, little does she know (keep separate credit cards gentlemen :cool:). I am a sucker for large cases and so rather expectedly a Corsair 800D magically made it into my office to replace a relatively “smaller” Coolermaster Stacker 832.

    Once the rebuild was complete my new rig had emerged. An overclocked 4.2 Ghz Intel Core i7 with two GTX 480s SLI in tow, I was quiet pleased, until the stress testing began.
    After several moments of denial I eventually came to accept the simple truth that my new $280 enclosure sucked :mad: (my wife seemed pleased with my suffering). My Coolermaster Stacker sat laughing in the corner, it was a venerable air cooling god compared to the 800D. Not to be defeated, I began down this path and figured I would share my findings.

    METHODS AND STUFF:
    Equipment:
    Motherboard: Asus P6X58D Premium @ stock chipset voltages.
    CPU: Intel Core i7 930 Overclocked @ 4.2 Ghz @ 1.35/1.35V
    Cooler: Corsair H50 on rear exhaust using a 120-140mm adapter
    Memory: Corsair Dominator DDR3-1600 Mhz (7-7-7-18) @ 1.75V
    GPU: Nvidia GTX 480 SLI Overclocked: 850 / 2100 @ 1.125 V (Fan 100% @ 80C)
    Hard Drive: Intel X25-G2 SSD and WD RE2 500 GB x 3 RAID 0
    Power Supply: Coolermaster UCP 1100
    Fans: Stock Corsair 140mm, Yate Loon140mm, Panaflo 120x38mm and 92x25mm.

    Software:

    Everest Ultimate Edition (5.00.1650)
    MSI Afterburner 2.1.0
    BOINC (6.10.58)

    Other:
    Cheap Oregon digital thermometer
    Elijah Craig 18 year bourbon

    Idle measurements were recorded after 30 minutes. Load measurements were recorded after 60 minutes of CPU/GPU/RAM abuse using BOINC. All equipment was verified stable in prior Coolermaster Stacker enclosure using multiple protocols including Prime 95, LinX, and OCCT.

    STOCK: Epic Air Cool Fail!
    The stock Corsair 800D is a neutralish pressure design that favors a quiet computing experience over performance.

    [​IMG]

    There are low rpm 140mm fans at the base, over the hard drive cage, and at the rear. The overall air path is simple and elegant. The stock fans are stupid quiet, almost inaudible. They are also stupid slow; spinning at around ~1000rpm they move very little air. Fine for some, but hardly for the average enthusiast, bent on overclocking their hardware.


    The stock case performed so badly that I terminated the load test early when my CPU passed 80+ C and my GPUs were past 100 C. Hard drives seemed happy though :p.

    Room: 22 / 22 C
    Board: 35 / 45 C
    CPU: 48 / 85 C - FAIL
    GPU 1: 65 / 105 C - FAIL
    GPU 2: 58 / 100 C
    HDD: 33 / 40 C

    REPLACE STOCK FANS: Replace fans, maintain air path and neutral pressure.
    I replaced the stock intake and exhaust fans with Yate Loon D14SH-12 140mm fans. They spin at around 1800 rpm and supposedly push ~100 cfm. The website says they do 2800 rpm, maybe there is a new model or I got robbed :confused:, $8 - who cares. The stock Corsair drive cage fan remained in place.

    There was an immediate and substantial improvement. The CPU temps came back into range and would stabilize. However, the GPU remained an issue :mad:. The GTX 480 is a notoriously hot card, exponentially worse when overclocked, and nearly demonic when in an adjacent SLI configuration. This was going to be a challenge.

    This configuration would run indefinitely when the CPU was loaded. It would quickly fail when the GPUs were loaded.

    Room: 22 / 22 C
    Board: 30 / 35 C
    CPU: 44 / 75 C
    GPU 1: 60 / 105 C - FAIL
    GPU 2: 52 / 100 C
    HDD: 33 / 36 C

    EXHAUST FANS: Added exhaust fans, changed air path, slight negative pressure bias.
    [​IMG]

    I left the Yate Loon 140mm bottom intake fan and stock Corsair drive cage fan in place. I reversed the rear Yate Loon 140 mm exhaust fan to intake (Corsair H50) and added three Panaflow 120x38mm exhaust fans to the roof. The Panaflo spin at around 1700 rpm and push at least 70 cfm at 30 dB. That makes ~200 cfm of intake and ~210 cfm of exhaust, at least by the numbers, not taking into account the GTX 480 exhaust.

    There was another incremental improvement over simply replacing the stock fans. The tremendous exhaust out of the top of the case was impressive and no hot spots could be found inside the case. The reversal of the rear fan resulted in lower CPU temps. The GPUs were happy at stock clocks, and even when mildly overclocked to 800 Mhz, but that wasn’t the point. I would not be satisfied until I at least matched what was a trivial accomplishment in the Stacker.

    Room: 22 / 22 C
    Board: 28 / 34 C
    CPU: 40 / 69 C
    GPU 1: 55 / 105 C - FAIL
    GPU 2: 48 / 100 C
    HDD: 33 / 35 C

    Frustrated, I stayed with this configuration for several weeks. Eventually the negative pressure bias resulted in a bit of dust accumulation around the bottom of the case and on the H50 radiator. I grudgingly cleaned the case out but did not have the motivation to change the fan configuration again.

    Then I was reading an article about the Silverstone Raven series :eek:.
    [​IMG]
    The vertical orientation was lauded for its ability to keep the GPU cool. But I also noted that there is a large positive pressure bias, helping force air both through and around the stock GPU heatsinks. If it s good enough for Falcon Northwest, why not me:D? I cleaned the case out one more time and decided to try something “crazy”.

    INTAKE, INTAKE, INTAKE: Going positive pressure, physics be damned!
    [​IMG]

    I reversed the three 120x38mm Panaflo on top to intakes. I rereversed the rear 140mm Yate Loon to exhaust. I left the bottom 140mm Yate Loon and stock 140mm Corsair drive cage fan as intakes. I removed the PCI slot covers in all the unused slots. Holy positive pressure bat man! This results in 310+ cfm intake and 100 cfm + gpu output as exhaust. I knew I was on to something as the air coming out of the back of the video cards and through the unused slots was significant to say the least.

    Room: 24 / 24 C
    Board: 25 / 26 C
    CPU: 39 / 69 C
    GPU 1: 45 / 95 C
    GPU 2: 41 / 90 C
    HDD: 33 / 34 C

    Now that’s progress. This configuration nearly matched my Coolermaster Stacker. It allows for full stable overclocks on both the CPU and GPUs. I ran this setup through several days of gaming and encoding, no problem. This was a preliminary setup as the noise was a bit more than I wanted and there would eventually be piles of dust in the case due to unfiltered intakes at the top. I proceeded to refine the configuration.

    FINAL CONFIGURATION: Less is more!
    [​IMG]

    The new setup was a bit loud for my taste so I gutted some old 120mm fans and used them as spacers on the top Panaflo intakes to help decrease intake turbulence (works). I removed the bottom 140mm Yate Loon fan intake completely. I placed a 92mm Panaflo fan (50 cfm @ 2800 rpm) on the front of the video cards. I temporarily removed the stock panel filter from the bottom of the case and placed it on top to filter the intake air (Free). I got some Silverstone vented slot covers for the empty card spaces($7). I then purchased some acoustic pyramid foam and lined the bottom of the case ($10). I also blocked the top rear perforations with closed cell foam to help force air through the video cards and rear/bottom perforations (Free).

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]


    Final results:
    Room: 24 / 24 C
    Board: 25 / 26 C
    CPU: 39 / 69 C
    GPU 1: 44 / 90 C
    GPU 2: 40 / 82 C
    HDD: 33 / 34 C

    Been using this setup for a few days now, I am quite pleased. Let me know what you think. I hope this is helpful to those out there who are air cooling in an 800D.


    X
     
  2. Cruiza

    Cruiza [H]ard|Gawd

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  3. Redbeard

    Redbeard Official Corsair Rep.

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    Very interesting, your temps don't match our lab temps, but it's very interesting to see. You did a lot of work to that!
     
  4. RushiMP

    RushiMP Limp Gawd

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    Yeah, I love the case but I had a hard time making it do what I wanted. I was an early adopter and most of the other threads about modding the case relate to fitting additional radiators and such. After trying to be conventional I figured what the heck, lets just try it. It took a while to get all the measurements done in between doing 'real' work and I never planned on posting it, but when I was finished, I could not help but think it may be useful to someone, or at the very least interesting.

    I do feel Corsair had it right with the H50. Its likely best to intake cool air from the rear of 800D and let it exhaust out the top. My computer is corner loaded in a room and the proximity to the walls likely allowed hot exhaust air from the rear of the video cards to increase the nominal intake temp of the H50.

    I have no doubt that Corsair spent serious time and money on R&D for this case. Its hard to plan for all situations. My overclocked and air cooled GTX 480 SLI just happen to be brutal to keep cool.

    Abandoning the bottom intake, putting a fan in-front of the video cards, redirecting air flow by using high static pressure intake fans, and allowing passive egress through the backplane all introduce new variables, hard to say the relative benefit of each move since I did not test between each.
     
  5. Outamyhead

    Outamyhead [H]ardness Supreme

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    Thanks for the info on fan configurations, my system is about to get an overhaul with filters and sound dampening, I shall see if I can even mount the new Scythe Kama fan that close to my 260's.
     
  6. RushiMP

    RushiMP Limp Gawd

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    No problem, glad I had the time to post really. I initially mounted a 120mm fan on the video card but found that the dead space making it less than ideal. These video cards tend to measure about 9 cm wide and in SLI about 8 cm tall. Turns out a 92mm fan fits this configuration perfectly. The dead space ends up in the narrow space between video cards, the bulk of air flow directed into the intakes with little wasted dispersion. FYI, I used chopped slot covers bent at 90 degrees attached with hook and loop fasteners, works great, more flexible than double sided tape.
     
  7. coconutboy

    coconutboy Gawd

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    A bottle of kickass bourbon and a digital thermometer? You freakin' rule! Really though, great post. Very thorough, great pics, and lotsa experimentation = badass.

    I notice that a lot of your testing confirms the experience of [H] 800d owners in that getting cpu temps down is easy; just use one of the nearby "exhaust" points as intakes. However, cooling vid cards tends to be more fickle and your experience bears that out. Ever consider swapping mobos to improve your upper 480GTX's temps? Looking at your results, the lack of space/air between the PCIe slots is definitely cooking that upper vid card. I'd bet you could drop load temps on the upper vid card by 3-8c simply by swapping mobos and perhaps another 1-3c on the lower GPU. Depending on how easily you could sell your mobo and if it's worth the hassle to you, might be worth considering.
     
  8. greeneye

    greeneye Limp Gawd

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    As soon as i bought my 800D, I knew the top fans would be better as intake, then the rear as exhaust. This is defiently worth the effort for switching the fans around as i noticed easily 5-8c in temperature drop with my W/C'd setup.
     
  9. r00t61

    r00t61 [H]Lite

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    [H] needs to implement a rep button so that I can give the OP some major congratulations for this informative post.:)
     
  10. ~ever~

    ~ever~ [H]ard|Gawd

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    Looks like your case is quiet
     
  11. MrSneis

    MrSneis 2[H]4U

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    Damn looking good. Personally I've never been a flan of sleeved psu cables though ;) I'm running the exhaust configuration with lack of sound dampening materials and top ducts. How did you get/do that video card fan mod ? Also how far is your case from walls?
     
  12. pitbull46

    pitbull46 Limp Gawd

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    Very nice indeed and informative too.
     
  13. RushiMP

    RushiMP Limp Gawd

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    Your right. switching motherboards to a Rampage or other with better SLI spacing would help keep that top card from getting cooked, it would also allow me to go Tri-SLI. Right now its more the hassle than anything else. When I finally get the itch to pick up one more GTX 480 on the cheap I may have to make the transition.
     
  14. RushiMP

    RushiMP Limp Gawd

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    The video card fan mod is just a 92mm and 2 PCI slot covers. You take the slot covers and bend the motherboard side to a 90 degree angle, then cut off the card attachment side to make it flat and as short as your want it. Then just screw it to the fan with fan screws and attach it with something non conductive, like velcro or double sided tape, to the video card.
     
  15. vjcsmoke

    vjcsmoke [H]ardness Supreme

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    I like your mods. Yeah having your video cards sandwiched is definitely aggravating the heat issue on the GPUs. Does your mobo support the video cards with a slot spacing in between? Technically your system does have watercooling because of the H50 btw. :)

    Water cooling custom is very expensive but I did it anyways because my 480 SLIs drove me to it. The temparetures were bad even in my HAF 932 Not as bad as your temps in the 800D with initial config but close. What really drove me batty was the noise factor of the 480 fans. Now if Corsair would be so kind as to produce ready to go gpu water coolers like the H50, I'd get in line to buy. ^_^
     
  16. AthlonXP

    AthlonXP [H]ard as it Gets

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    Nice read and nice to know this.
     
  17. CompMage

    CompMage Gawd

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    I am very interested in this layout you have.

    I have played with the fans a bit to include using the rear fan as intake. But I have not had the idea to use the top fans as intake. I think I am going to be moving fans around as soon as I get home.

    I run both a air cooled 700D and a watercooled Top 3.120 Rad 800D

    I look forward to seeing what this will do for temps on my air cooled 700D

    And for the love of sanity PLEASE MOVE THAT FAN OFF THE CARDS!!!! Back about 4cm should do it. Right now it's not doing much unless you get crazy and mod the fans to take rear air intake.
     
  18. RushiMP

    RushiMP Limp Gawd

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    The fan on the cards is helping the video card exhaust hot air out the back. Video cards do not intake cool air from the rear. The relative high cfm of the fan seems to help get that air in and through the cards more efficiently. The squirrel cage fan on the video cards can also intake from the mouth of the fan, either way, the 92mm fan helps provide a constant stream of cooler air to the cards. This became evident to me when I checked the ambient air measurements on the video cards, they dropped by several C with the fan in place.
     
    Last edited: Mar 22, 2011
  19. CompMage

    CompMage Gawd

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    Oh no don't get me wrong. Keep the fan blowing over the cards! Been there done that as a lot of us have. I'm simply saying you are getting a lot of air flow loss having it that close. A shroud would really do what you're looking for a little better. Not over the cards but just something to direct that nice 92m fan over the cards and not use airflow from being so close.
     
  20. RushiMP

    RushiMP Limp Gawd

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    Ah, my bad. You are right. If I can dig up another 92mm fan I may gut it and use it as a spacing shroud. When I do I will make sure to make before and after measurements to see if it made an objective difference.
     
  21. MrSneis

    MrSneis 2[H]4U

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    Hey Xanth, great job again but I came up wth some more questions:

    1) Are you same xanth from headfi? :)
    2) Where did you get all this accoustic foam from and how did you attach it?
    3) The HDD Bay fan seems to just blow onto the HDD area with very restrictive holes, I think the arrows of your illustration are a little misleading as not much, if any, airflow gets into the main chamber of the case.
    4) Did you eliminate the bottom intake fan because of noise or because of dust?
    5) Are your fans running 12v (100%)? I need to 10v or 9v my top fans and installing a front panel fan controller is not something I'm prepared to do.
    6) Consider push pull for your h50!
     
    Last edited: Mar 22, 2011
  22. RushiMP

    RushiMP Limp Gawd

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    1.) Sorry, not the same Xanth from headfi. But the same from almost everywhere else :cool:
    2.) The foam is largely preliminary / proof of concept at the moment. Near my house is a wonderful place called the Foam Factory, like the bubba shrimp of foam. They ship cheap. Here is the link: http://www.thefoamfactory.com/acousticfoam/pyramidfoam.html. You can also get it on ebay for next to nothing, $3 a panel at most. The foam I bought was stupid cheap but not necessarily the best available. It may perform better with second foam backing layer like from Akasa or Dynamat. I bought the cheap one to help me decide on cuts and positions, I will eventually upgrade it with something denser , ala $$$. Most of the foam you see is cut just too large and is held in place by wedging it between things. The bottom panel is just gravity. When I upgrade the foam I will use carpet tape or double sided tape.
    3.) Your pretty much correct that the HDD fan just blows into the cage and largely does not enter the main cooling chamber. The corsair website suggests that it blows through the cage completely and then along the back of the motherboard tray to help it cool as it exits the rear of the case. True in concept, but hardly with that silly low cfm fan.
    4.) I eliminated the bottom intake because of noise and turbulence. I am fighting heat rise with fans blowing down as it is, figured it just makes it a turbulent mess with air blowing up as well. I am trying to create as laminar a flow pattern as possible. Also, there is so much air coming in from the top that the Yate loon fan may not have been moving much volume at all and likely was just making a racket doing it. Also, the main fans are at the top, a solid wall of foam at the bottom helps eliminate flat parallel walls that tend to reflecting noise, hence pyramid foam.
    5.) At the moment I run the fans at 12V. I was planning on using a 12V/7V/off type switch to shut them off or throttle them down when I am not gaming or encoding. Do not seem to even need them under normal light use. To bad lamptron seems to be having QC issues. Their fan attic would have been perfect.
    6.) Push pull is definitely better. At this point the CPU temps are more than satisfactory, and i don't want to exhaust the air to quickly without building enough positive pressure to help the video cards and keep dust out. I have 4 more panaflo fans that I could put all over the place, but it's probably overkill.
     
  23. RushiMP

    RushiMP Limp Gawd

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    You know, I just enabled the Asus onboard Q-fan control and the fans spin down to about 1000 rpm at idle, not bad. I may not even need to bother with a fan controller. I just need to make sure they spin up properly under load, I think they are linked to CPU temp but I need to confirm that with testing.
     
  24. Outamyhead

    Outamyhead [H]ardness Supreme

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    Hmm, I was looking at using some of the foam padding material used in computer hardware shipping boxes, since it does allow air to move through it, and I think it's the ideal width and length to stuff in the front of my case, and cover the fan grill in the bottom of the case.
     
  25. Aus10

    Aus10 [H]ard|Gawd

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    What is the point of adding that pyrimad foam stuff? Looks cool tho :)

    Awsome build :)
     
  26. RushiMP

    RushiMP Limp Gawd

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    Sound waves reflect best off flat surfaces. Pyramids help diffuse the sound. Also the foam allows some sound to enter its substance which then becomes trapped by internal reflection and hence attenuated through energy loss. Or so they say ;)
     
  27. Aus10

    Aus10 [H]ard|Gawd

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    So they make your computer quieter? Is it worth it? Does dust get stuck in it, like do you have to clean the foam? Do they add heat to the computer?
     
  28. Activate: AMD

    Activate: AMD [H]ard|Gawd

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    When eliminating the bottom intake fan (between the PSU and Mobo chambers) did you do any testing on PSU or lower HDD temps? I have some drives down below in addition to the hot-swap bays and am interested to see if removing that fan has a noticeably negative impact. luckily (for cooling anyway) I don't have 2 gtx 480's to cool, but your results are definitely intriguing
     
  29. RushiMP

    RushiMP Limp Gawd

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    They seem to work. I don't think dust is a big problem, especially if you are using filtered intakes. They do not really affect heat much since they are not insulating components directly.
     
  30. RushiMP

    RushiMP Limp Gawd

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    My PSU does not have a perforated front plate, like most these days. It intakes air from below the case and exhausts it out the rear, so I think there is likely no adverse effect on it.

    I also do not have any drives in the lower cage, everything is in the hot swap bays. Curiously though, when I remove the plastic rear cover and the small front cover of the lower drive cage I feel a small amount of air coming out of the front of the case, likely due to positive pressure. That being the case I think there would be little difference in HDD temps, though that's just speculation. I think if I had drives down there I would just install a silent side fan like is present over the hot swap bays.
     
  31. ThinJ

    ThinJ Gawd

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    I actually kept two of the top fan spots (the two closer to the front of the case, the back is just filtered) as exhausts and used a holesaw on my drillpress to add a 120mm intake fan to the side window. Instantly solved my videocard temperatures, and everything else stays cool.

    That said, positive pressure setups have never worked in my house, I assume because I don't have A/C and the incoming air isn't very cool to begin with. Have to keep the case bordering on a wind tunnel to keep some things cool.
     
  32. x509

    x509 [H]ard|Gawd

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    If I'm understanding your post, you use the rear as exhaust for a w/c setup. Do you have a 1 x 120 rad? Most people doing w/c on this case seem to use a 3 x 120 rad mounted at the top of the case, and exhausting through the top vents.
     
  33. Jason Xiao

    Jason Xiao n00b

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    I like your style man! Only because you're like me! Physics be damned indeed!

    I intake from the top and bottom and do a super exhaust from the back! Hot air rises, yes we know. Not only that, but it's tendency to move towards cold areas is stronger! Where does cold air like to accumulate? At the bottom of the room. I like to believe the type of room and what part of the country it is in matters too. These theories of physics were made to be broken as they say.

    What I ended up doing:
    [​IMG]

    Actual Photo:
    Images were coming up humungous so here are links!
    http://jxhprototypes.com/stuff/i7-860/DSC00489.JPG
    http://jxhprototypes.com/stuff/i7-860/DSC00527.JPG

    When I had this setup, I was actually rocking 27-32*C idle, 55*C range load. These CM fans started going bad months in so I changes setup into top exhaust, intake bottom and rear. Temps are actually higher! 32-37*C idle, 64*C range load.

    I am personally thinking about putting a side-panel fan and making rear into push pull intake. Make the three little suckers on top into exhaust. I've had the case a year now. Long enough to start physically destroying it right? If it doesn't get my temps back down, I'll switch back to original air flow.

    Good Luck to Us Physics Challengers!
    Jason "Dieux Soldat" Xiao
     
    Last edited: Jun 1, 2011
  34. schizrade

    schizrade [H]ardness Supreme

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    This is a great write up. I have wanted an 800D since it came out, but have never pulled the trigger. I have an Antec 1200 and a CM 692. The 1200 is big and quiet but a whore to work on, and the 692 is great to route cables in, but too damn small.

    I gotta go sell some cases now... :D
     
  35. Aus10

    Aus10 [H]ard|Gawd

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    Im doing the same, selling my corsair 600T pus side panel and getting the 800D :) so i can keep 480 liquid coolded and my cpu... I like the mod where the 360 on the top and the 240 in the bottom part of the case :)
     
  36. schizrade

    schizrade [H]ardness Supreme

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    Just ordered a NIB 700D.

    I will have to try these fan configs in it.
     
  37. ironforge

    ironforge [H]ard|Gawd

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  38. robwiel

    robwiel n00b

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    Hi, got to try this might solve my problem:

    I actually have good CPU temps on 2600k@4.5ghz (70c for 8h prime) but have bit of a problem with gigabyte gtx 580 soc [​IMG]

    This card does not have exhaust and creates rather unique problems with 800d, in well ventilated cases it has superb temperatures to regular 580 in all aspects but here under load doesnt do well, tbh idle temps are much better than my asus gtx 580 used to be (40-50c).

    But under load it goes 70c normal/95c synthetic tests/or very hard games.

    Right now: my setup is top exhaust 3x NB (M12-S1) only 750 rpm.
    800d rear fan is reversed to be intake;
    Rest of fans are stock.
     
  39. ThinJ

    ThinJ Gawd

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    When I upgraded to a pair of OC'd 6950's I had some heat problems in mine, and ended up doing this:

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    I also replaced the unused slot covers with the Silverstone vented ones mentioned earlier in the thread to let more air out around the cards. Cut load temps on my cards by 10 C. Took about five minutes to actually do. Later on I also bought a different soundcard so I could get that damn card out from between the two videocards, which helped the upper card a fair amount again.
     
  40. robwiel

    robwiel n00b

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    Reversed top for intake, removed empty slot covers under graphc card.
    CPU temp +0 to +5 under load
    GPU temp -8 to -9c under load

    Noise from graphic card is way more noticable now though. I think that positive pressure wont work well with my slow NBs on top.

    Suggestions?
    1. I will try close bottom slot covers
    2. Set first NB on top as exhaust for CPU
    3. I need something which feeds cold air to graphic card, front bay?